Passing your skills on to others will make you feel good, says Charles Handy
I just heard this morning that a daughter of a friend of ours had given up her posh job in a big bank to do home schooling for her nephews and nieces. Lucky nephews and nieces, I say. Aunts and uncles are much more fun than parents and so much better teachers – they listen whereas parents just preach all the time. Aunts and uncles were naughty once; parents never. Aunts and uncles are also acceptable as authority figures – they’re meant to be wise and wonderful; parents are just annoying.
And my guess is that the aunts and uncles will enjoy the job just as much as the children. I’ve just noticed that my 14-year-old grandson Leo is teaching my carer to play chess, and loving it. When I ask him to play chess with me, he doesn’t seem to want to. Sometimes teachers have more fun than students. So, well, why don’t we all become teachers?
If you’re a good footballer, why not teach some local kids your skills? You might find it wonderful fun. My great hero Aristotle said doing your best at what you’re best at for the good of others is what makes you really happy in life. So if you’re good at something, why not try teaching it to others?
When I became a teacher I also found I learnt much more than the students because I had to work out exactly why things worked the way they did, whether I was teaching history or geography or chemistry or whatever, while they just had to listen. I bet my grandson now knows far more about chess than he ever did before.
So, to anyone who’s able to: on your bikes, save some kids from the tedium of home schooling and feel good about it in the process. Or if you don’t have young relatives in school, take some time this weekend pondering what skill you could pass on to others. It’ll make you feel happy. At least that’s what I’ve found, and so did Aristotle 5,000 years ago.